Several athletes in Boone County have taken a bold new step venturing into a new sport for our region – Rugby. Several Scott HS student/athletes have signed on and are representing their school and Boone County by playing this game.
The effort began through the efforts of several former Marshall University rugby players scattered throughout WV and Ohio, with a goal of developing players for West Virginia college teams.
Locally, Chad Barker is the organizer, and serves as the Head Coach.
Barker was a rugby player at Marshall University from 1998-2000.
Scott joins high school teams from Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Cabell Midland and Spring Valley in WV as well as South Point, OH.
The team is considered a club sport at this time since it is not controlled by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC), which is the governing body of high school athletics in the State
The local high school team is playing in rugby tournaments for the first time this year.
Also, for the first time ever, rugby played a first ever tournament on the turf at Scott High School this past Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Scott players include Chris Lester, Jacob Davis and Adam Matthews.
According to Coach Barker, “This began in an attempt to create more rugby recruits for the colleges in the state that have rugby. Marshall University, West Virginia University and Wheeling Jesuit University all have teams that participate in the Division I level.”
He added, “They are playing against schools that are recruiting from high school rugby teams in their state, most of which have never played the game.”
Barker also added that there may be an opportunity for athletic scholarship money down the road for rugby players who are interested in playing collegiately.
Rugby appears to have begun successfully this year. “The kids are having a blast and the parents and spectators who have come out to watch, seem to enjoy the game too”, the coach added. Using some smaller numbers, the games periods are much shorter and the game moves quickly and is packed with lots of action. The action has been given a bad reputation to a certain point, thinking that athletes are subjecting themselves to lots of injuries. “Rugby is a safer sport than it is made out to be,” Barker clarified.
The coach was quick to point out that the emphasis is placed on safety while practicing and playing.
Typically, there are fewer and less severe injuries in rugby than there are in football, according to reports.
Rugby, is a type of football game. It has roots in Soccer and involves kicking and dribbling with the foot and continuous passing of the ball.
Ruby is the forerunner to today’s American football that we all know.
The state championship will be held next week at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, April 28, in Huntington at the 29th Street Fields and the Scott players will be participating. The game is popular in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France.
Now, it has a chance to become popular in Boone County and in West Virginia.
From the reviews of several spectators witnessing their first Rugby match, the response was positive.
Many said they would be back to watch the team again. Many students who attended were overheard stating that if they knew it would be like it is, they would love to play.